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Uzbekistan28 October 2005

BBC closes Tashkent bureau because of harassment and intimidation

The BBC World Service has been forced to close its Tashkent bureau because of repeated harassment of its journalists. Attacks against members of the bureau began after it carried reports about the uprising in Andijan and the involvement of Uzbek troops in the bloody crackdown on 13 May. The BBC’s bureau was one of the last independent news media to be accessible to the Uzbek population during the Andijan uprising.

The BBC’s correspondent, Monica Whitlock, was forced to leave the country in June as a result of government harassment. Six of the BBC’s local correspondents also fled the country and two of them were granted refugee status by the United Nations. Finally, when the alleged perpetrators of the Andijan rebellion appeared in court hearings that were televised throughout the country, they accused the western media, including the BBC, of organising the 13 May uprising.

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